Craft beer drinkers enjoy their brews. The variety of flavor combinations, style interpretations, and the sheer variety in the world of craft beer is simply astounding. It is a veritable world of snowflakes and fingerprints; no two craft beers are exactly the same. Why?
Care and concern of what a beer tastes like drives the world of craft beer. Creative desires often take the front seat over consumer demand. If one could some up what a craft beer is supposed to do, it might be something like “take pause and think.” Indeed, that is the very response that good craft beer evokes. It truly is beer by intelligent design.
Macro beer, on the other hand, is driven by consumer demand and a world where snow is snow; who cares if no two flakes are alike? And, rest assured, most snowflakes are clones of other ones. If craft beer causes one to take pause and think about what he or she is drinking, macro evokes the play hard and settle mentality.
Poor macro beer never stood a chance on this blog; the odds were stacked against it. We were content to let it fade into the oblivion in which it belongs. Then, it made us come out of hiding. What happened?
Has anyone else noticed what all these beer ads are implying lately? Let’s look at a few. First, the ads where people are drinking Bud. Shot by shot the commercial shows how indispensable Bud is for a fun party. Be that as it may, you also see some shots of it being cracked open with a bottle opener. What?!
Now, I admit that I don’t have a Bud very often (gladly), but the last time I had it the cap was a twist-off. Even if they did switch to pry-offs, it is a response to the craft beer movement in the U.S. So, what is the implication? Well, it seems to me that they are riding the bandwagon in the respect of pry-offs and, by subtle implication, saying, “Hey, look we are craft.” Sure it’s a quick shot, yet well placed non-verbal statement can do wonders.
The second example I’ve recently seen is—and it is more explicit in its implications—in a commercial that involves constructing a boat. Have you seen this one? Narration runs along the lines of “you love to build it yourself”…etc. In this commercial, the fellow is building the boat, himself, from scratch, and the shots show it at various stages. In comes his big boy brew, and he enjoys it because it is also crafted with similar blah blah blah. Like that is actually the case. Then, the worst part is, the boat’s name is (I forgot the first word) “X Craft.”
Wow! What an implication. Between the rhetoric of crafting it himself and zooming in on the word, I think the commercial is trying to say something. Don’t you?
Just another brief example that I think is a bit more subtle. I see quite a few billboards in L.A. On several occasions I’ve seen the Miller Lite sport posters with the team jersey or helmet donning the brew logo. Of course, the pro-team with the logo implies excellence and appeals to our love of sports. Not a bad ploy. Of course, pro athletes are the best at a particular sport; ergo, Miller Lite must be the best…etc. In my mind, that is the connection.
Of course, I would argue that a finer point of the poster is more accurate. The jersey and player are always vague and indistinct. Now that is more in line with the big boy brews.
Okay, so I’ve complained about the big boys, and it feels so very cathartic. But what does it really mean? In my mind, it means the big boys don’t want to evolve and make changes into really making craft brews. They simply don’t care about that. However, they do want to ride the wave of craft beer by painting a perception. If I didn’t know better, it seems like there is a degree of desperation in the move. They’ve sunk to a new low. They used to paint their product based on what it was, now they are trying to get away from the true identity of their product.
This teenage identity angst shows that the wave they are trying to ride may eventually overtake and drown them in their cheap ploys with a rich foam of great beer.
I just want some craft beer with a vortex bottle.
[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kirk Roth, Michael Reinhardt. Michael Reinhardt said: Bullshit! http://thankheavenforbeer.com/2010/10/18/crafting-lies-the-new-marketing-approach-of-the-big-boys/ [...]
Since the macro water lager makers seem incredibly disinclined to improve their actual beer, all they have left is marketing to slow the inexorable customer loss.
So out come talking frogs, blue mountains, vortex bottles and not so subtle references to “craft”.
Every time a new “idea” or ad campaign starts up, I can almost sense the desperation. These conglomerates may always have the majority of sales and customer recognition but I think they have realized that their beer is holding them back from domination.
October 24th, 2010 at 6:20 pm
I love watching them writhe on their downward spiral. I do agree that they’ve realized their inferiority and it may be giving them a complex.
I agree, and have noticed these ads. In fact, the first hint of craft mimicking that I really took note of was Miller Lite’s “Triple Hopped” campaign. As if the average frat drunko cares about hops, or as if the craft beer drinker will say, “Triple hopped?!?!…Mileer LIte, I’m so sorry I never gave you space in my refrigerator before!”
A couple of months ago I was at a bar and saw a bartender look for his misplaced bottle opener to open something like a bud or budlight. Sigh.